It’s time to play nice with others…while driving
I remember as a kid my mom and dad giving back to the community through volunteering. They still do that, especially my dad. I learned from them and have gotten involved in my community as well. If you do the same, doesn’t it feel good knowing your actions are helping someone else? I recommend each of you do the same, but maybe not as you may think.
Giving back to your community can happen in a variety of ways. Since this is The Safe Driver, let’s look at giving back while driving. When I say to give back, I don’t mean to offer your vehicle to some stranger you come across or offer rides to the people who live down the street. I’m talking more about making your drive within your community more pleasant for you and everyone else you meet. We seem to be in a go-go-go mentality these days. We always seem to be in a hurry. It’s time to take a deep breath and relax.
Speeding toward a red light and blocking another driver who wants to change lanes ahead of you just gets you frustrated and perhaps angry at them. It also makes the driver next to you feel the same. Since it’s just a red light, why not let that other driver change lanes and come over? It’s not really going to slow you down from reaching your destination in a timely manner. Besides, there’s no prize for getting to the red light first now is there? Sure, that driver should have changed lanes sooner, but it’s time for you to be the bigger person. Show them how smart and courteous a driver you are. Maybe it will rub off on them.
We need to build, as a community, a cooperative driving culture. Lose the “me-me” attitude. At the intersection, give the right of way to those who need it instead of rushing through ahead of everyone else cutting them off. Not only does it show you understand the law, it shows driving manners. Speaking of manners, let’s not forget to say thank you when another driver lets you into their lane when you have nowhere else to go. Provided you don’t have dark tinted windows, wave with your right hand after you’ve completed the change. This allows the driver behind to see your polite gesture. This action not only allows you to feel good that someone did helped you out, but it also lets the driver behind know you appreciated their act of kindness.
For many who read my work here, you know tailgating really annoys me. It’s a very selfish action to tailgate another driver; whatever the reason. To those who purposely tailgate, why not stay back to avoid putting pressure on the driver ahead of you? You’ll still get to your destination. It may be less than 2 seconds later, but you’ll still get there. Yes, I said 2 seconds. Since following distance is measured in seconds, you should stay at least 2 seconds behind the driver ahead of you. If you’re tailgating, you’ve cut that time to maybe half a second. What is that really saving you? Becoming a cooperative driver means you’re allowing the driver ahead to drive their vehicle without pressure from you. (More about tailgating here)
It doesn’t matter what season we’re in, you’ll find cyclists on the road. Share the road with cyclists and give them a full lane to cycle in. If you come across a cyclist ahead of you in the same lane, change lanes early enough to allow the driver behind you to see them early as well. This is so they can change lanes early as well. Avoid cutting off the cyclist at all costs. If you need to go through the cycling lane, do so as near the intersection as possible, without interfering with the cyclist.
Driving is a journey, not a race. Take the time to enjoy it and cooperate with other road users. Didn’t your mom ever teach you to play nice with others? This would include while driving. When we’re happy, we do nice things. When we’re grumpy or annoyed, we retaliate. Building a cooperative driving culture will benefit everyone, including you.